iPhone 3G: The Unexpurgated Arrival-Day FAQ

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After months of speculation, and weeks since CEO Steve Jobs trumpeted it at his company's annual developers conference, Apple Inc. today rolls out its new, faster iPhone 3G.

But with the hype seemingly on mute compared with last year's original frenzy when the first-generation iPhone debuted, is there anything worth knowing?

We certainly think so.

Because Apple changed the game with iPhone 3G -- it's no longer demanding a slice of carriers' subscriber revenues and now takes subsidy payments from operators instead -- the first day of iPhone v.2 is a completely different deal. By now you probably know that "3G" stands for the new network capabilities it offers, including faster data transfer speeds. And, of course, there's the built-in GPS, which application developers will no doubt make use of with a slew of new apps. There were already more than 550 available when Apple's App Store went live on Thursday.

And yet, on opening day, we expect you'll have questions. And we have some of the answers.

When does the iPhone go on sale? In the U.S., doors open on Friday, July 11, at 8 a.m. local time. In the other 22 countries that get the iPhone out the gate, your mileage may vary. Japan's Softbank Mobile Corp., for example, was going to start selling the iPhone 3G at its store in Tokyo's Harajuku district at 7 a.m. local time (6 p.m. EDT Thursday in the U.S.) In some markets, however, the phone won't arrive for a week or more.

Where do I get one? With Apple's strategic shift -- it's taking the money upfront from carriers in the form of subsidies, rather than a piece of the subscriber revenues -- there's not much online action for the new model. (Some exceptions: O2, the exclusive carrier in the U.K., took preorders online earlier this week -- not that it did most customers much good, as the site melted down within an hour.)

In the U.S., the only places to get one on Friday, and for the foreseeable future, are Apple or AT&T retail stores. If you don't know where the nearest stores are, you can use Apple's store locator or AT&T's to get an exact address. If you're going early, don't be surprised to find a few folks in line in front of you.

What countries will get the iPhone 3G today? Apple puts the tally at 21: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

France, which was on the list last month, fell off; Apple now says that the iPhone 3G will go on sale there on July 17. Mon Dieu.

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